The Right to State Lands a Study of a Squatter Community in Egypt

Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on New Findings in Humanities and Social Sciences

Year: 2018 | Page No: 71-80


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The Right to State Lands a Study of a Squatter Community in Egypt

Salwa Salman


In 2016 ‘People’s Right’ Campaign, also known as the National Committee for Retrieving Looted State Lands, was assigned to either retrieve state lands or facilitate the formal registration of lands according to occupants’ personal cases. This study draws on theories of discourse to explore official representations of desert land reclamation, allocation, and distribution, with a focus on the (re-) conceptualization of rights, state territoriality, and sovereignty as a part of narratives on state lands, property rights, and desert development. The study draws on methodological insights in the anthropology of development which employs a Foucauldian discourse analysis to examine ‘development’ and the role of the state under neoliberalism. Through the lens of a squatter settlement, Ard Baza, the study puts national narratives of desert development between 1952 and 2011 and property rights in conversation with individual cases to explore property and state/society relations.

Keywords: State lands, property rights, desert development, neoliberalism, squatter settlement.